The Valleys Youth Project
About The Project
The Valley Youth project builds on the work that has been undertaken to develop an area based approach which has emerged in Cynon Valley to give young people an opportunity to explore their place in the world; as they grow into adulthood in a safe setting, it is these strengths which the programme will build upon to take services for young people in the Cynon Valley and develop them into services by young people, focusing particularly on developing their role in supporting each other especially around well-being and mental health.
Valley Youth is a partnership approach to provide safe spaces across the Cynon Valley for young people to meet, supporting them to make informed choices about their well-being through activities, networking and access to information and advice. It will target young people aged 8 – 18 and aim to engage with 700 young people throughout the life of the project. The project has been designed around 5 main elements:
Youth Open – Open Access sessions, held in local communities. Sessions will provide social and personal development opportunities through activities. This element will also provide a programme of holiday activities, to broaden young people’s horizons.
Youth Extra – Recognising that some young people are discouraged by Youth Open, and/or are anxious, fear bullying or have a specific issue; this element will provide a smaller safe space. This will be by referral/invite only and bespoke activities will be provided, tailored to meet the needs of the group.
Youth Coaching –Some young people require one-to-one support in their local community to make a change; Youth Coaching provides a Solutions Focused Brief Intervention to support this; concentrating on future behaviours and actions, identifying strengths and building on them. Youth Open links closely to Youth Extra and is by referral only.
Youth Outlook – Focusing on non-accredited, resilience building and life skills, Youth Outlook will facilitate a range of learning and awareness raising courses to support young people with greater knowledge around emotional and mental well-being and “risky behaviours”. This would include, mindfulness, stress relief, cooking skills, budgeting, money management, emotional intelligence, developing positive relationships, sexual health and confidence building and techniques to deal with bullying, anxiety and substance misuse. These would be delivered in house by qualified staff or by partnership organisations including MIND, Valleys Steps and other organisations. For those requiring more employment based training the young people would be supported to access the numerous employment programmes that are available across the RCT area.
Youth Involve – Involvement is at the centre of They Valley Youth Project. Strategically, there will be representatives in the steering group, overseeing the operation of the project and linking into the authority and Wales wide forums. Young people will be central in developing the activities in the local drop in’s, volunteering within the projects, peer mentoring and talking to young people. They have expressed an interest in running fundraising events and activities to support the project over the longer term. They will be encouraged and supported to access learning that helps them develop these skills.